Album Review: Richard Thompson, ‘Ship To Shore’

Although it’s been six years since Richard Thompson’s last album—2018’s 13 Rivers—the 12 songs on his new effort Ship To Shore (New West Records) illustrate that he’s lost no ground.

The album kicks off with the swirling guitars and driving rhythms of “Freeze,” a Celtic-African number that conveys the raggedness of indecision, the inability to take a risk or to move forward or back. As the songs spirals to an end, the singer counsels embracing living, despite its perils: “How can you tell if you’re living/If you never arm-wrestle the beast?” Mimicking rapid heartbeats, the syncopated rhythms and undulating minor chords of “The Fear Never Leaves You” conveys the emotional hell of PTSD; the song’s narrator can’t unsee the devastating human destruction—“comrades all to smithereens”—of war and can’t sleep on the bed or stand with his back to the door. Somber fiddle and circling guitars and soaring harmonies create layers of exalted sound in an ode to a woman whose “love is a mystical thing” in “Singapore Sadie,” while “Trust” skitters through a carnivalesque musical landscape filled with fun-house mirrors in which nothing appears as it is and no vision or person can be trusted. Airy calypso folk drives “Lost in the Crowd,” a reflection on the possibilities of what might have been and the regret for the loss that occurred, while the frenetic tempo of “Maybe” evokes the desire for a woman who may not be aware of the singer’s existence but whom he hopes that they can be together “maybe one day if the stars align.” The album closes with a snaky blues, “We Roll,” a paean to life on the road and a thank you to the fans for all the love they’ve shown Thompson down through the years.

Ship To Shore showcases Thompson at his best. He’s still delivering propulsive melodies and canny lyrics that capture the dark corners of the human heart and the slivers of light that sometimes cast rays of hope.


 Ship To Shore is available HERE


Music & Merch

Follow at:


Supported By